Caregivers often put the needs of others before themselves. That is what makes them such incredible people. Unfortunately, this can become harmful to the caregiver and even the individual they care for, if they don’t take an adequate amount of respite time. If you are a caregiver, especially a full time caregiver, it is important to your health to take breaks. Full time workers take vacation to get away, and so should you. Caring without respite can lead to caregivers falling into poor health through stress, illness, and not taking enough time to eat, exercise, and live well. In fact, a caregiver who is too stressed or tired can find it difficult to provide a quality of care that they usually would. For this reason, it is in the best interest of both the caregiver and the person being cared for that caregivers take regular respite breaks.
What is respite care?
Respite care is time away, either a vacation or some regular ‘me time’. It is having someone fill in for the duties of a caregiver for that time period – whether they are a professional, a friend or family member, or volunteer. Respite care can fit many different situations, so it is important to know what you need. Perhaps a caregiver will take some time off and hire a caregiver for a two week period; or maybe care at more regular intervals is required. Even just having another family member come over one day a week for the caregiver to get out of the house will do wonders.
The important thing is not waiting until it is too late. Too often, respite care is required when a caregiver becomes ill or has an emergency. Don’t let yourself fall into that situation: take regular respite breaks to stay healthy, and take the best care of your loved one that you can.